Pastor’s Note: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry!
“You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!” This is that memorable line from the late 70’s early 80’s TV show, The Incredible Hulk. The show featured the late Bill Bixby as a rather mild-mannered David Banner who when pushed or bullied would transform into a green muscle-bound giant of a man played by world-class bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno. As the “hulk” he demonstrated enormous strength and power to defeat the bad guys.
We might be tempted to think that God is a little like the Incredible Hulk in reverse. The God of the Old Testament appears to be an angry, all-powerful, wrathful God who doles out justice in an instant. In the New Testament God sends His Son as a humble, itinerate, Jewish teacher who heals the sick and demonstrates abnormal kindness to those He encounters. Yet even the New Testament doesn’t avoid the issue of God’s wrath and even in the gospels where Jesus ministry is highlighted John issues this warning, “but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36
In first Thessalonians Paul speaks of God’s “wrath” 3 different times and we can’t ignore them even though it can be rather uncomfortable to talk about. So as we continue our series called “Parousia” we’ll look specifically at the issue of God’s anger or “wrath” and attempt to understand how it fits with Paul’s teaching on the gospel and the return of Christ.